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jerryking : struggles   6

John Stuart Mill Showed Democracy as a Way of Life - The New York Times
David Brooks JAN. 15, 2018

John Stuart Mill demonstrated that democratic citizenship is a way of life, a moral stance and a humanistic adventure.....Mill is famous for his celebration of individual liberty. But he was not an “anything goes” nihilist. He was not a mellow “You do you and I’ll be me” relativist.

In the first place, he demanded constant arduous self-improvement. In his outstanding biography, Richard Reeves points out that in “On Liberty,” Mill used the words “energy,” “active” and “vital” nearly as many times as he used the word “freedom.” Freedom for him was a means, not an end. The end is moral excellence. Mill believed that all of us “are under a moral obligation to seek the improvement of our moral character.”

“At the heart of his liberalism,” Reeves writes, “was a clearly and repeatedly articulated vision of a flourishing human life — self-improving, passionate, truth-seeking, engaged and colorful.”.... staged a lifelong gentle revolt against his father’s shallow intellectual utilitarianism.

Having been raised in this way and, as an adult, living in Victorian England, what he hated most was narrowness, conformity, the crushing of individuals under the weight of peer pressure, government power or public opinion.....Mill cures us from the weakness of our age — the belief that we can achieve democracy on the cheap; the belief that all we have to do to fulfill our democratic duties is be nice, vote occasionally and have opinions. Mill showed that real citizenship is a life-transforming vocation. It involves, at base, cultivating the ability to discern good from evil, developing the intellectual virtues required to separate the rigorous from the sloppy, living an adventurous life so that you are rooting yourself among and serving those who are completely unlike yourself.

The demands of democracy are clear — the elevation and transformation of your very self. If you are not transformed, you’re just skating by.
David_Brooks  democracy  Victorian  values  engaged_citizenry  arduous  critical_thinking  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  history  op-ed  profile  philosophy  utilitarianism  liberal  political_theory  John_Stuart_Mill  self-improvement  19th_century  liberalism  indivualized  self-actualization  individual_choice  autonomy  intellectually_rigorous 
january 2018 by jerryking
Good Schools Aren’t the Secret to Israel’s High-Tech Boom - WSJ
March 20, 2017

Israel’s shadow education system has three components. The first is our heritage of debate—it’s in the Jewish DNA. For generations Jews have studied the Talmud, our legal codex, in a way vastly different from what goes on in a standard classroom. Instead of listening to a lecture, the meaning of complex texts is debated by students in hevruta—pairs—with a teacher offering occasional guidance.

Unlike quiet Western libraries, the Jewish beit midrash—house of study—is a buzzing beehive of learning. Since the Talmud is one of the most complex legal codes ever gathered, the idea of a verdict is almost irrelevant to those studying. Students engage in debate for the sake of debate. They analyze issues from all directions, finding different solutions. Multiple answers to a single question are common. Like the Talmud itself—which isn’t the written law but a gathering of protocols—the learning process, not the result, is valued.

The second component of our shadow education system is the peer-teaches-peer model of Jewish youth organizations, membership-based groups that we call “movements.” Teenagers work closely with younger children; they lead groups on excursions and hikes, develop informal curricula, and are responsible for those in their care. As an 11th-grade student, I took fifth-graders on an overnight hike in the mountains. Being given responsibilities at a young age helped shape me into who I am today.

The third component is the army.
Israel  ksfs  education  high_schools  schools  Jewish  Talmud  protocols  Judaism  books  religion  coming-of-age  technology  science_&_technology  venture_capital  innovation  human_capital  capitalization  struggles  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  cultural_values  arduous 
march 2017 by jerryking
How to Become a ‘Superager’ - The New York Times
Gray Matter
By LISA FELDMAN BARRETT DEC. 31, 2016

make a New Year’s resolution to take up a challenging activity. Learn a foreign language. Take an online college course. Master a musical instrument. Work that brain. Make it a year to remember.

Think about the last time you grappled with a math problem or pushed yourself to your physical limits. Hard work makes you feel bad in the moment. The Marine Corps has a motto that embodies this principle: “Pain is weakness leaving the body.” That is, the discomfort of exertion means you’re building muscle and discipline. Superagers are like Marines: They excel at pushing past the temporary unpleasantness of intense effort. Studies suggest that the result is a more youthful brain that helps maintain a sharper memory and a greater ability to pay attention.
aging  howto  cognitive_skills  USMC  resolutions  discomforts  hard_work  struggles  longevity  pay_attention  arduous 
january 2017 by jerryking
Mizzou, Yale and Free Speech - The New York Times
NOV. 11, 2015 | NYT | Nicholas Kristof.

On university campuses across the country, from Mizzou to Yale, we have two noble forces colliding with explosive force

One is a concern for minority or marginalized students and faculty members, who are often left feeling as outsiders in ways that damage everyone’s education. ........ the other noble force in these upheavals — free expression. ....academia — especially the social sciences — undermines itself by a tilt to the left. We should cherish all kinds of diversity, including the presence of conservatives to infuriate us liberals and make us uncomfortable. Education is about stretching muscles, and that’s painful in the gym and in the lecture hall....My favorite philosopher, the late Sir Isaiah Berlin, argued that there was a deep human yearning to find the One Great Truth. In fact, he said, that’s a dead end: Our fate is to struggle with a “plurality of values,” with competing truths, with trying to reconcile what may well be irreconcilable.

That’s unsatisfying. It’s complicated. It’s also life.
Nicholas_Kristof  Yale  Mizzou  irreconcilables  freedom_expression  struggles  values  Isaiah_Berlin  Colleges_&_Universities  intolerance  political_correctness 
november 2015 by jerryking
The Arduous Community - NYTimes.com
December 20, 2010 | NYT | By DAVID BROOKS.
Erica Brown leads Torah study groups and teaches adult education classes
in Jewish thought....Brown has what many people are looking for these
days. In the first place, she has conviction. For her, Judaism isn’t a
punch line or a source of neuroticism; it’s a path to self-confident and
superior living....In her classes and groups, she tries to create
arduous countercultural communities. “We live in a relativistic
culture,” she told me. Many people have no firm categories to organize
their thinking. They find it hard to give a straight yes or no answer to
tough moral questions. When they go in search of answers, they
generally find people who offer them comfort and ways to ease their
anxiety.

Brown tries to do the opposite. Jewish learning, she says, isn’t about
achieving tranquility. It’s about the struggle. “I try to make people
uncomfortable.”
Judaism  education  tough_love  David_Brooks  community_builders  convictions  tough-mindedness  rigour  discomforts  struggles  self-confidence  candour  arduous  counterculture 
december 2010 by jerryking
Wealth must be created on a personal level
January 25, 2010 | Stabroek News | by Michael Maxwell. "The
public sector of a poor nation where your next raise is determined by a
clueless government pandering to ethnic concerns is no place to be
hanging your hat for the future, despite your lionhearted service.

There must be a return of the innovative African Guyanese whose vision
of the future is bold enough to know that he has to recast himself into
finding the comfort and security of wealth in a nation where ethnic
economic marginalization rules. As one blogger aptly stated in response
to my January 8 letter, African Guyanese are always starting and
starting over in many of this nation’s economic endeavours. That is a
spirit-crushing struggle for any people. African Guyanese capitalism
does not necessarily have to be on a massive commercial scale, but it
should be sufficient to afford quality wealth and economic security. To
hell with political marginalization."

=====================================================
F. Skinner Iman Chin • 10 years ago
What you are seeing in Linden is not new. Africans have the ability to be innovative. After slavery we bought land, after the PNC's redeployment - square pegs in round holes debacle - where in many cases both husband and wife found themselves without a job, we started the trading business. Now here we go again.

But we must find a way to stop starting from scratch ever too often. That's the challenge - not innovation.
economic_development  Guyana  Afro-Guyanese  letters_to_the_editor  wealth_creation  self-determination  self-discipline  self-employment  self-help  public_sector  generational_wealth  marginalization  personal_economy  spirit-crushing  struggles  financial_security  soul-sapping  reinventing_the_wheel 
january 2010 by jerryking

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